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School Law and Technology for the David City Schools Staff Karen Haase Harding & Shultz (402) 434-3000 khaase@hslegalfirm.com H & S School Law @KarenHaase


This is not your Grandma’s Inservice


Agenda  School Law and Technology Issues • Social Networking • E-mails • Sexting • Cyberbullying


Social Networking  Examples • MySpace • Facebook • YouTube • Twitter


Social Media is Here to Stay  Ed. Professionals are using social media • 85% of Americans use social media monthly • Twitter grew over 500% in the last year • More video is uploaded to YouTube in 60 days than big 3 networks created in 60 years

 Facebook dominates social media • • • •

500 million users as of July, 2010 50% of active users log on daily Average user has 130 friends Largest group of users aged 35-54


Teacher Use  Causes for Concern • Drug/Alcohol Use • Sexual Inappropriateness • Inappropriate Communication with Students • Inappropriate Communication about Students • Selling School Property


Nebraska Law  NEB. REV. STAT. §§79-824, 79-827  Reasons for Termination and/or Cancellation: • Unprofessional Conduct • Immorality • Other conduct which interferes substantially with the continued performance of duties


Caselaw Fisher, 476 F.2d 375 (8th Cir. 1973): Without a connection between the teacher’s misconduct and the school district’s interest, a teacher may be able to argue that the reasons underlying dismissal were arbitrary and capricious.


Free Speech


Free Speech Pickering, 391 U.S. 563 (1968) If a employee speaks as a citizen on a matter of public concern the district must show it had an adequate justification for treating the employee differently from any other member of the public.


Free Speech Garcetti, 547 U.S. 410 (2006) When public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, the employees are not speaking as citizens for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate their communication from employer discipline.


My Suggestions  Make a professional page separate from your personal page  Don’t “friend” students or parents on your personal page  Don’t let yourself be depicted behaving unprofessionally  Ask: will this affect my classroom?


Privacy Settings     

Set your profile as “private” Only let “friends” see pics Require notification before tagging Turn off geo-tags Friend Facebook on Facebook


E-mail E-mail


School E-mail  Computer, Server, Internet Connection all belong to the district.  Use is permissive  Assume someone will read it eventually.


School E-mail and Politics  Political Accountability and Disclosure Act  In the Matter of Michael Nolan, Case No. 07-03


Using School E-mail


Public Records  Records "of" or "belonging to" state agencies under § 84-712.01 are those records "owned" by the agencies or those records for which the state agencies possess title or an ownership interest.  The mere fact that a record is in the possession of a public officer or a public agency does not make it a public record.


Sexting?


Sexting?  Material can be distributed via: • • • • •

Text messages Downloads onto laptops/computers E-mail Downloads onto i-pods/mp-3 players Social Networking Sites


How Common is Sexting?  Sexually suggestive photos sent: • 20% overall • 22% girls • 11% young teen girls (ages 1316) • 18 % boys


How Common is Sexting?  Sexually suggestive messages sent: • 39% of all teens • 37% girls • 40% boys  48% of teens say they have received sexting photos or messages.


Sexting?


Serious Consequences: Jessica Logan


Criminal Implications  NEB. REV. STAT. 28-813 et. seq.: Class IV felony to • knowingly solicit, coax, entice, or lure • a child sixteen years of age or younger • by means of an electronic communication device • to post images that would qualify as child pornography under state law


Criminal Implications  Affirmative Defense: •

the picture is only of the defendant;

• or • • • • • • •

defendant was younger than 19 picture is of someone at least 15 picture was taken voluntarily picture was given voluntarily picture contains only one child defendant hasn’t shared the picture; AND defendant didn’t coerce taking or sending


When You Catch Kids Sexting


Cyberbullying


Bullying? “any ongoing pattern of physical, verbal, or electronic abuse on school grounds, in a vehicle owned, leased, or contracted by a school being used for a school purpose by a school employee or his or her designee, or at school-sponsored activities or school-sponsored athletic events.�


Cyberbullying? Cyberbullying, v: the use of technology such as computers and cell phones to engage in repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others. The term "cyberbullying" is used when the victim or bully is a child or teen. The term cyber harassment is used when the victim is an adult.


Not My Students! • Tell teacher: 27% of preteens and only 9% of teens • Tell friend: 44% of preteens and 72% of teens • Told no one: 16% of preteens and teens


J.C. v. Beverly Hills Unif. Sch.  8th grade girls talking smack about a peer; uploaded to YouTube  Principal suspended student who uploaded  Court: no disruption to school, no nexus to education, no basis for punishment


If you discover bullying  Keep “Responding and Reporting” separate in your mind  Report to administration asap  Document everything


Victim Need Interventions? 

Interventions • Social skill training • Hygiene training with sped teacher, counselor or other staff • Peer mentor  Be ready for a 504 or SpEd request


School Law and Technology for the David City Schools Staff Karen Haase Harding & Shultz (402) 434-3000 khaase@hslegalfirm.com H & S School Law @KarenHaase

David City Staff